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Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Pilot Projects

Overview

SWCOEH Pilot Projects Research Training Program

The goal of the Pilot Projects Research Training Program is to enhance Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) regional outreach efforts in research training and to foster stronger inter-institutional ties in occupational health research within Public Health Region 6 (PHR 6) (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas). The objective of this program is to provide a support mechanism for pilot research projects initiated by:

  • Research Trainee Awards: Graduate doctoral students or postdoctoral fellows in an occupational health and safety-related discipline.
  • Junior Investigator Awards: New investigators with research interests in the general area of occupational health and safety. Junior investigators are defined as faculty who have not served as PI on any Public Health Service (PHS)-supported research grants other than a R03, R15, R21, K01, K08, or K12.
  • New Researcher Awards: Researcher or Faculty in areas other than occupational health research who wish to apply their expertise to an occupational safety and health issue.

Graduate students and other junior investigators in occupational health and safety as well as faculty in areas other than occupational health research investigators with new interests in occupational health and safety are invited to submit applications for short-term research projects. Support for these projects is available through a supplemental Research Training award from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to the SWCOEH at UTHealth School of Public Health.

To learn more about the Pilot Projects Research Training Program, see a list of the current as well as the past grants awarded by fiscal year here. In addition, you can see a list of outcomes of the program (e.g., publications, presentations, funded projects) by fiscal year here.


SWCOEH Homepage

Information

2020-2021 Funding Opportunity Announcement

Award Information

Award Name: Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Federal Award Identification Number: T42 OH008421

Award Year: July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021

Federal Awarding Agencies: Department of Health and Human Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Sub-Award Flow-Through Requirements

Applicable Regulations: 45 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 75, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards

45 CFR Part 75 supersedes regulations at 45 CFR Part 74 and Part 92

Eligible Applicants

The Pilot Projects program aims to provide a support mechanism for research projects initiated by personnel at any institution located within Public Health Region 6 (PHR 6) (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas), including those with Training Program Grants. Funds are available for three categories of awards including:

  • Research Trainee Awards: Graduate doctoral students or postdoctoral fellows in an occupational health and safety-related discipline.
  • Junior Investigator Awards: New investigators with research interests in the general area of occupational health and safety. Junior investigators are defined as faculty who have not served as PI on any Public Health Service (PHS)-supported research grants other than a R03, R15, R21, K01, K08, or K12.
  • New Researcher Awards: Researchers or Faculty in areas other than occupational health research who wish to apply their expertise to an occupational safety and health issue.
  • Previous Pilot Project Awardees are not eligible to reapply with the exception of previous Research Trainee Awardees who could reapply as Junior Investigators. To be eligible to re-apply in this category, potential applicants must have evidence of at least one outcome (e.g., publication, grant proposal or award) resulting from the prior award as Research Trainee.

Availability/Use of Funds 

Approximately $50,000 is available in the upcoming 2020-2021 fiscal year, ending on June 30, 2021, to fund up to 5 short-term, high impact research projects. The maximum total cost amount to a single project will be $10,000 for both Research Trainee and Junior Investigators awards.  New Researcher may apply for a maximum of $20,000. Awards are made competitively and on a one-time basis for a maximum of one year (with funding to end on 6/30/2021) without possibility of renewal.  Funding is contingent upon NIOSH’s notice of renewal award to the SWCOEH for the corresponding fiscal year.

Only one application per applicant is allowed. Awards will be made on a one-time basis with an end date of June 30, 2021

Use

Funding is designed to directly support the implementation of the research plan. Salary support for the investigator is discouraged and administrative staff support will not be allowed. Course costs (i.e., tuition and fees) are not an allowable expense. Additionally, the budgeting of computers into the proposals is not an allowable expense unless it is an essential need to conduct the research (e.g., a laptop to collect data during the field work; but not simply data entry).

All applicants are encouraged to request that their institutions waive indirect cost requirements. Should indirect cost requirements not be waived, the program will only support up to 8% of the direct costs. Proof of IDC Waiver application to the applicant organization must be submitted with the proposal packet. Whether IDC is waived or not by the applicant organization, a letter from the applicant organization stating such must also be submitted.

Programmatic Interest

Submitted projects must be relevant to the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) of NIOSH (see http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs). Submitted applications for the Junior Investigator and Research Trainee award categories should originate from areas within the traditional occupational health and safety-related disciplines including occupational medicine, occupational health nursing, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, ergonomics, toxicology, occupational epidemiology and Total Worker Health. Applications for the New Researcher award category should originate from investigators in areas other than those listed above. Projects not addressing NORA goals and objectives will be determined non-responsive, and will not be reviewed further.

Proposals for all should emphasize basic or applied research that brings especially innovative perspectives or paradigms, ideas, and/or approaches to occupational health research. All applications should address occupational health and safety needs in Region PHR 6, foster the research career of the Principal Investigator, and promote research capacity-building in the Region. In addition, the proposal should include a brief statement describing the investigator s plan for dissemination of project results in the peer-reviewed literature and future applications for extramural funding.

Application Instructions

SWCOEH Pilot Projects Research Training Application

The receipt date for proposals is September 1, 2020. Please send the completed application to PilotProjects@uth.tmc.edu.

Proposal Format Instructions and Guidelines for Submission:

Please click here for a printable version of the Application Instructions and Guidelines.

Awardee Requirements:

Successful awardees will be required:

1. To complete a short progress report due every quarter to briefly document their progress toward the objectives of their awarded project. This brief report should present research activities to date, progress made toward project objectives, unexpected delays or events which might influence the achievement of project objectives, and plans to address any delays or unexpected events.

2. To give an oral presentation of their study results at the SWCOEH Virtual Research Symposium to be held in June 18, 2021.

3. To submit a final report written in manuscript form and adhering to journal guidelines due at the completion of the project. A list and copies/reprints of any publications resulting from the project must be included in this final report.

4. To acknowledge the funding support in presentations and publications emanating from the pilot awards.

5. To complete a short annual survey requesting updates on program outcomes for a period of 5 years after the end of the funding period.  This information will be used to demonstrate the impact and value of the program as well as for program improvement.

Evaluation Criteria:

The mechanism for funding projects through this Program will be a competitive process modeled after the National Institutes of Health enhanced peer review system and modified to meet the purpose of this RFA. Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated by the SWCOEH for completeness and responsiveness. Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will not be reviewed. If the proposed project involves organizations or persons other than those affiliated with the applicant institution, letters of support must be included.

Applications that are complete and responsive to the announcement will be reviewed by a Scientific Review Panel composed of internal and external peer reviewers and will be determined to be scientifically meritorious or non-meritorious based on review criteria described below. Non-meritorious applications will be withdrawn from further consideration and the principal investigator will be notified. Meritorious applications will be assigned a priority score based on scientific merit. Following this first-level review, the applications will undergo a Programmatic Review for relevance to the goals and objectives of this RFA. 

Criteria for the Scientific and Programmatic Review

Notices:

Funding is contingent upon NIOSH’s notice of award to the SWCOEH for the corresponding fiscal year.

Budgets must be inclusive of direct and indirect costs and must include travel for a presentation of results at the UTHealth School of Public Health. Supplements will not be awarded.

Appropriate approvals must be obtained prior to the Scientific Review and awards for use of animals, human subjects, radioisotopes, biohazards or other special approvals.

Decisions of the review panel will be final.

Key Date:

A notice on Intent is required by email by August 15, 2020.  Please include the name and contact information of the proposed PI, the participating institution and the NORA goals the project will address.  The requested receipt date for proposals is September 1, 2020.  Send the notice of intent and the completed application to PilotProjects@uth.tmc.edu.  

Awards will be announced October 1, 2020.  Funds cannot be disbursed to any awardee until all pertinent institutional review board (IRB) or institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) approvals are received by the Pilot Projects Research Training Program Coordinator.

Funded Projects

2019 - 2020

Bethany Alcauter, MS
UTHealth School of Public Health
Heat stress and Kidney Function Among Immigrant Construction Workers in Texas

Shraddha Dalwadi, MD, MBA
Baylor College of Medicine
Defining Occupational Ionizing Radiation Exposure with Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy for Prostate Cancer

Whitney Harrison, MPH
UTHealth School of Public Health - San Antonio
Houston Union Firefighters’ Perception of Cancer Risk and other Health Outcomes

Roger Kollock, PhD
University of Tulsa
Fit-for-Duty: A Preliminary Analysis of the Predictive Value of the Physical Abilities Test (PAT) for Work-related Casualty

Rebecca Molsberry, MPH
UTHealth School of Public Health - Dallas
Leveraging Personal Technology to Intervene on Continuous Occupational Stress Among Law Enforcement Officers

Kelly Oyer-Peterson, MPH
UTHealth School of Public Health - San Antonio
Exposure to Environmental and Occupational Health Hazards among Vulnerable Domestic Cleaners in San Antonio

Yujiang Xiang, PhD
Oklahoma State University
Model-based Ergonomic Design for Collaborative Lifting

2018 - 2019

Aurelie Azoug, PhD
Oklahoma State University
Mitigating Posture Changes and Risks of Falling in Standing Pregnant Workers

Cheng-Yen Chang, MS
Baylor College of Medicine
The Role of Nano-Particulated Carbon Black in Lung Cancer Development

Gabriel Ibarra-Mejia, MD, PhD
University of Texas at El Paso
Exploring Molecular Changes and Inflammatory Cytokinen

Brendon McDermott, PhD
University of Arkansas
The Effect of Sugar-Sweetened Electrolyte Beverages on Biomarkers of Hydration and Renal Stress During and Following Industrial Work in the Heat

William Brett Perkison, MD, MPH, FACOEM
UTHealth School of Public Health
The Hurricane Harvey Outreach Protection Plan Worker and Resident Survey

Anabel Rodriguez, MPH
UTHealth School of Public Health
Tuberculosis Among Dairy Workers in Bailey County, Texas

2017 - 2018

Marcio Bezerra, MS
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Oxidative Gases Emission and Particulates’ Oxidative Potential from Non-conventional Welding 

Yu Feng, PhD
Oklahoma State University
A virtual human system for health risk assessments in a representative whole-lung configuration associated with welding fume exposure 

Erika Figueroa-Solis, MS
UTHealth School of Public Health
Pilot testing of the DEGREE Study Protocol, POC Field Measurements, and Module on Risk Factors for CKDu in Hispanic Outdoor Workers 

Jennifer Reingle Gonzalez, PhD
UTHealth School of Public Health - Dallas
The Law Enforcement Officer Stress Surveillance Study (LEO-STRESS) Pilot 

Ashley Shortz, MSPH
Texas A&M School of Public Health
Development of Fatigue Risk Assessment Method for High Risk Environments 

Wei-Chung Su, PhD
UTHealth School of Public Health
Ultrafine Particle Respiratory Deposition Measurement 

Ying Xu, PhD
University of Texas at Austin
Occupational Exposure to SVOCs from Indoor "Green"Paints

Contact Information

For Additional Information

Kai Zhang, PhD
Assistant Professor and Director
SWCOEH Pilot Projects Research Training Program
UTHealth School of Public Health
Phone: (713) 500-9249 
E-Mail: Kai.Zhang@uth.tmc.edu or  PilotProjects@uth.tmc.edu

Silvia P. Santiago, MAHS
Program Coordinator
SWCOEH Pilot Projects Research Training Program
UTHealth School of Public Health
Phone: (713) 500-9444
E-mail: Silvia.P.Santiago@uth.tmc.edu  or  PilotProjects@uth.tmc.edu